Special Education-Inclusion and Theories
My readings for this week included Chapter One of Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion (Thomas and Loxley, 2001) and Inclusive School Community: why is it so complex?(Carrington and Robinson, 2006). Both readings spoke to the fact that traditionally students with disabilities have been viewed as having problems to be “fixed” by the education system or as students who “don’t fit” or “won’t learn”. The education system is based on the “norms” or “accepted norms” of society. The system and curriculum is managed, set up, run and eventually taught by individuals who have successfully made the journey through the education system. The people with the power may know of the inequalities in the system, may feel they are changing to a more inclusive model, but in effect they are including disabled students in a system not set up for their success. The same values and beliefs are still in effect and learners are exposed to new ways to meet the same ends-ends which may not be reasonable based on the individual disabilities. What needs to change is society’s view of what is successful. The role of the education system needs to be revisited if it is truly to be inclusive.
This brings to mind a staff room debate on the fairness of counting homework towards a child’s grade. The debate revolved around the equity of counting homework towards marks as all students do not have the same supports in place at home-in fact some children may have mountains of responsibilities and problems at home. Our board does not support using homework assignments towards report card grades. Some of the staff felt that homework must count as we are preparing students for university where all assignments are homework. Other staff, including myself, argued that we are an elementary school, we are not preparing students for university. All students are not university bound and this should not be the only measure of success. As educators, we are all university educated and we probably have expectations that our own children will also attend university. It is important though, that we step outside of our own realities and realize that many of our students will see success without ever stepping through the doors of a university. It is our job to help prepare them for life and set them up with tools for success in whatever direction their life takes them.
Carrington S and Robinson R.(2006)Inclusive school community:why is it so complex? International Journal of Inclusive Education: Vol.10, No 4-5, July-September 2006, pp. 323-334.
Thomas G. and Loxley A.(2001) Deconstructing Special Education and Constructing Inclusion. Open University Press:Philadelphia